Oh Luang Prabang, you have truly stolen my heart. Luang Prabang is the most bustling and yet homey of the cities we’ve visited in Laos. I was surprised at the size of it, but glad to see the close-knit community feel and lack of any tall buildings. Tuk-tuks of course were plentiful, but there were many more locals than tourists.
The night market was the best one I’ve been to in Southeast Asia – even trumping the Sunday Market in Chiang Mai, crazy I know. This market was just so unique; all the items were carefully made by hand and had true history behind them. In addition to that, the vegetarian buffet was one of my favorite meals from Laos, and cost only 10,000 kip ($1.25). I would definitely recommend it since street food is less popular in Laos than in Thailand. Sandwiches are plentiful, as well as bakeries and cafés, but those are a bit more expensive.
The night life in Laos is pretty fun depending on the area but also limited. The country essentially shuts down at 11:30 pm, which is the curfew instituted for local business owners. However, in such a popular backpacker place like Luang Prabang, there are some other after-hours options: bowling and “clubbing.” To be clear, there is only one club and we didn’t go, but we heard it was fun. Bowling however, was awesome. I didn’t even bowl and it was the best bowling experience I’ve had. The bowling alleys are the exception to the curfew and can therefore sell beer. Everybody was soon guttering their balls and making new friends. I made some best friends that night that I’ll likely never see again!
Needless to say, the next morning was a bit rough. Instead of motorbiking to Kuang Si waterfall we opted for a Songthaew. The ride was long and windy and we were grateful for our choice.
Before the waterfall stands a rehabilitation center for abused bears from China. It was a pleasant surprise to see such an amazing camp filled with bears just chillin’ chillin’ chillin’. They looked like they were having the time of their lives hanging around and casually glancing up at all of their fans.
For some reason, we decided to opt for the “trekking route” up the waterfall. I don’t know why I always put my knee in these situations. Regardless, it was worth it. I can’t even begin to stress the beauty of this waterfall. The water was an intense turquoise and continued to get more gorgeous as we continued on toward the base.
Pictures are great aren’t they?!? I know. So beautiful.
Anyway, we also did some other things in Luang Prabang. We went to the National Museum, though it was a holiday so instead we visited some temples. One of these was built in the center of the city. It took about ten minutes of climbing stairs to reach the top. I was panting and sweating and embarrassing myself as per usual, and I’m pretty sure someone took a picture of me climbing. I was too out of it to smash their phone on the ground- I’ll get them next time. Regardless, the view was spectacular. We could see the entire city from a birds eye view, or a pearl’s eye view! Ha! Get it??
I was really bummed to leave Luang Prabang. The atmosphere was really settling and the area was beautiful. On top of that, the prices were cheaper than Thailand and the quality was the same. If I could do any part of Laos again, it would definitely be Luang Prabang. Only a few days of exploration did not do it justice. Stay tuned for our next adventure in Vang Vieng, which I’ll post in a couple of days!